There was a moment sitting in my therapist’s office when things “clicked.” 

Where I suddenly understood what motivates me – intrinsically.

And why the things that are supposed to be motivating do nothing for me at all.  

The moment made me think of how super-rich people love to reveal that, “Money won’t make you happy.” 

If you hear that at a time in life when you’re fretting over RENT, all you can think is: 

“Try me, MF’er!”

The logical part of your brain gets it, but the hungry, frustrated rest of you is super annoyed at the idea that someone with “no worries” is finding stuff to worry about. 

“Pretty sure I can handle feeling lonely on my yacht, bro.

This is the rub about finding your motivation…

It’s different for everyone.

Any attempts to contemplate or compare another’s struggle against yours are superfluous.

That’s why I’m finding a lot of value in diving deeper into the Enneagram. 

And while (I repeat), I don’t take any one philosophy/protocol/practice as pure dogma… 

I believe that buying into a framework, guided by someone you trust, is far more clarifying than attaching your own limited reasoning to the murky haze of what drives us. 

Drives us to achieve.

Drives us to retreat.

Drives us to places we don’t recognize, or feel sure about, but move ahead anyway because something is telling us it’s right. 

So, the “click” moment in Nick’s office…

… was around the concept of VALIDATION.

Remember that we were deep into my second most prominent type: Achiever

Achievers (type 3) derive self-validation from their ACCOMPLISHMENTS. So…

At their WORST, Achievers can be: Deceptive, Narcissistic, Superficial, Vindictive.

At the BEST, they are: Optimistic, Confident, Industrious, Self-Propelled. 

There’s a whole big range of behaviors in-between those extremes, depending on the cards you were dealt in previous years (relationship with parents, etc.), and your other prominent Enneagram types factor into this, as well. 

I could geek on this for days, but back to the revelation…

It hit me that the reason I’ve been able to achieve so much in my business is that I was driven to IMPRESS OTHERS.

Some Achievers might validate themselves through titles, awards, or financial goals…

For me it was, and always has been: PEOPLE.

If I meet/discover/study someone who I am deeply impressed with, it becomes my goal to become impressive to them. 

I used to have a mantra about choosing mentors:


And, whether or not I felt that motivation about someone became my deciding factor on if I should invest myself into their programs. 

Looking back, I realize that the motivation to impress my mentors was the blind ambition that drove me to succeed in business. 

Every one of my mentors was someone I looked up to, and desperately wanted to impress. 

I can look back on the timeline of my life after the age of 18 and name the person I chose (or counted on) to validate my existence. 

It’s as clear as a road map. 

None of this was done consciously, of course. 

But, the second I realized this, sunk into the cushions of Nick’s chair, it was like the sequence at the end of The Sixth Sense when Bruce Willis puts it all together… 

So clear, and suddenly, so obvious

After this realization hit me, I said to Nick…

“Shit. I’m glad I didn’t ‘heal’ during that time.” 

Because, if this was a problem, it sure seemed to work out well for me. 

Where’s the negative?

  • I found inspiration through people who had accomplished the things I dreamed of accomplishing…
  • Did my best to understand their thinking and actions to accomplish those things…
  • Found a way to get into a room with them…
  • (In many cases) confirmed that they were indeed worthy of mentoring with…
  • And worked my ass off to achieve my own accomplishments, through their guidance, that they would feel proud enough to brag about. 

Recognition was my crown, and collecting them on my shelf has resulted in a really good life. 

But, now what?

Next time I’ll tell you where my Achiever instincts hit a roadblock.

And how I’m working to get past it. 

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